High-resolution carbon mapping on the million-hectare Island of Hawaii



Current markets and international agreements for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) rely on carbon (C) monitoring techniques. Combining field measurements, airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR)-based observations, and satellite-based imagery, we developed a 30-meter-resolution map of aboveground C density spanning 40 vegetation types found on the million-hectare Island of Hawaii. We estimate a total of 28.3 teragrams of C sequestered in aboveground woody vegetation on the island, which is 56% lower than Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that do not resolve C variation at fine spatial scales. The approach reveals fundamental ecological controls over C storage, including climate, introduced species, and land-use change, and provides a fourfold decrease in regional costs of C measurement over field sampling alone.